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Pandemic-related drop in comp medical costs continued into 2022

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Medical payments per claim decreased by 3% on average in 17 states for 2021 injuries with costs that extended into the first quarter of 2022, according to a set of studies released Thursday by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.

The main driver of the decline was a decrease in the utilization of medical services, likely as a result of the pandemic, according to WCRI, which attributed the lingering decreases to stay-at-home orders and suspensions of nonemergency surgeries and procedures that were delayed or withdrawn in 2020.

The studies cover the period from 2016 through 2021, with claims experience through March 2022, including non-COVID-19 claims from the first and second years of the pandemic.

The 17 states studied represent about 60% of the nation’s workers compensation benefit payments, according to a WCRI spokesman.